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  • Writer's pictureCraig Stoltz

Following Padma Lakshmi to D.C.'s Lapis, where Afghan food earns a Michelin star

We fearsome nano-influencers have a saying: "The camera eats first."

Well screw it: The food at Michelin-starred Lapis in Adams Morgan in DC was too overwhelmingly spectacular to permit pauses for money shots.

Pictured: Half-eaten Qabuli Palow, a rice and lamb dish scented with cloves and underlaid with onions caramelized nearly into a pudding.

It's no coincidence we were eating it: This all started when I was watching Padma Lakshmi's Hulu show, Taste the Nation, on American ethnic food. To explore Afghan cuisine she visited DC, including Lapis in Adams Morgan. She made Qabuli Palow with the chef. The chef cried. So did I. [Go ahead, sneer.]

I had to order the dish. It was an amazement. [I didn't cry.]

To be fair, everything was an amazement: the flight of apps, which was a whole series of delightful surprises, including a chunk of fried cauliflower the size of a boxer's fist served with some crispy potatoes. The Aushack, dumplings stuffed with leeks and paved with a sauce of tomato and chopped beef, were exotically delicious.

My Five Lions cocktail was a gin sour gone native with a cardamom syrup.

The meal was, somehow, inexpensive: $110 for me and my lovely wife, including wine, cocktails, and tip. For Michelin-quality stuff! You can stumble into just about any storefront in Adams Morgan and pay way more and get way less.

In fact, I have.


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